Immigration reform effort reaches critical mass

Immigration reform by all rights should be halfway home, with a resounding “yes” vote in the U.S. Senate and one more roll call awaiting it in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Except for this little hitch: House Speaker John Boehner says a majority of Republicans who control the House need to favor it before he’ll even allow it to come a vote.

What he’s saying in effect is that a minority of the entire House of Reps is going to determine whether this important piece of legislation even gets to the floor.

And he calls that the “democratic process”?

The immigration reform bill approved by a 68-32 vote this week isn’t perfect, but it’s a dandy compromise. It allows a path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million people who are here illegally also while providing for more security along our borders and the completion of a 700-mile long fence along our southern border. There’s something in the legislation for liberals and conservatives, which is the essence of effective government.

But the speaker won’t have any of that. The tea party wing of his party is putting the arm on him to stop this thing, or approve an entirely new House bill.

Boehner’s strategy appeases one wing of his sharply divided House caucus. For him to insist that a majority of Republican members, along with a majority of Democrats, to favor this legislation before even allowing a vote sticks it in the eye of those who worked hard to craft a bipartisan compromise in the other congressional chamber.

What’s more, that tactic denies a majority of the entire House a chance to have its voice heard, as the speaker is deferring to the body’s vocal minority.

Boehner spoke grandly of the letting the “will of the House” determine the fate of immigration reform. He’s doing no such thing. He’s knuckling under to the will of knuckleheads.

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